Morning Melody

02023-04-15 | Guitar, HuHeartDrive, Ideas, Lx, Music, Rain Music | 6 comments

My favorite way to work with music is, perhaps, akin to Sumi-e – painting with sumi ink on rice paper. The strokes have to flow quickly and the brush can’t linger anywhere or it might break through the rice paper. At least that’s the way I understand the process.

In this case, on Thursday evening I had played around with four chords that I could play in such a way that all of them had the open E as the top note. D maj 7, Bm, G, A9. Of those four chords only the last one would normally be played with an open E at the top. I have always liked a top note that connects several chord changes. Sounds great in string sections. While the violas and cellos define the chord change, some of the violins keep the connecting note going.

Yesterday morning I wanted to give this idea a go. Sometime last month, I had put together a rain rhythm, with a tempo of 65BPM, that also included the call of corvids on Jon’s street in Santa Fe (he let me use his recording) and that tempo worked for my idea. I played the chord changes as an arpeggio. Then I played the E as a harmonic, to fall exactly where the open string was played at the end of every chord. Next I improvised some melodies. Et voilá, two hours later I walked to a favorite cafe for lunch, listening to the piece on repeat.

What do you hear? I hear a late Summer’s afternoon. Perhaps one sits, happy and satisfied after a late lunch, under the awning of a cafe when a rain shower starts. While the drops are falling, sunlight is breaking through the clouds, filtering through the leaves of tall trees, which makes everything shimmer. Corvids are having a conversation. There is absolutely no need to get up and do anything. Just play the music again…

I think when creating something, anything, it’s important to mute the judgement section of one’s brain. You know, the part of us that says it’s not complicated enough, it’s not impressive enough, it just won’t do! Those are the thoughts that make the brush break through the rice paper and ruin the movement.

Or, as Nike says, Just Do It. You can always bin it later. :-)


  1. Lisi-Tana

    It’s really lovely – relaxing and mellow. Downtime music for sure!

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amna Mohamed

    Crisp and clean and clear – like the green of spring on white paper.
    Like clear drops of water falling into a rain cup.
    The notes seem to be isolated yet yet you know they just prepare you for the next one and the next and the next.
    I kinda imagined the sea on a calm day with tiny waves reflecting the sun, changing – now here, now there- lively and bright.

  3. Ali

    in listening to this, I feel that the Sun is disappearing into the ocean, as I walk on my favorite beach.

  4. Robin

    Beautiful. In Hawaii, and ended up with a little morning bird song in the mix!

  5. Steve

    >What do you hear?

    I hear a D9, Bm11, GM6, A9 … and it reminds me of sitting on the front hood of my car back in 1979 in a field just above Boulder (but not yet to Nederland) and listening to the song “Stand By Me” with my girlfriend on the tape player (Maxell high bias tape only!)

    It is a I, vim, IV, V progression right? That Dmaj7 with the E on top is basically D9? and then the E becomes the 11 of the Bm … etc … So it’s a kind of “extended” chord “Stand By Me” … lol.

    Now I dunno why I am reminded of “Stand By Me” because this has nothing to do with that song …

    Beautiful though. Really makes me smile and think of Charlotte. I mean … I can see her when I hear this.

    Music is so incredible.

    • ottmar

      Music is indeed incredible. It seems like this experience was as direct for you as usually only scents can be. Amazing. I didn’t realize this but you are right the chord sequence resembles “Stand By Me”.


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